The daVinci Research Kit (dVRK) robot has been provided by Intuitive Surgical. It consists of a surgeon's console for the surgeon to tele-operate the surgery and a patient side console where the actual surgery takes place. The surgeon's console consists of two Master Tool Manipulators (MTM), each having 8 DOF for dexterous and natural hand manipulation, and a foot-pedal tray. On the other side at the patient's end, there are two Patient Side Manipulators (PSM), which are controlled by the MTMs with coordinated foot-pedal movements. We are using custom hardware to develop an interface between the two consoles. The hardware consists of motor-controllers, couple with FPGA's and hooked with fire-wire interface to connect with a PC running the control loops. On the PC, the Surgical Assistant Workstation (SAW) framework is used to process the data and the control law in implemented in the framework itself.
We have developed working models of the dVRK components in simulation software including RViz, Gazebo and Open Rave. To control these models, we developed ROS interfaces with the SAW/Cisst Libraries. We are capable of controlling joint positions, joint velocities, joint torques and end effector transforms using ROS protocols, while at the same time retrieving the values of this parameters from the dVRK as well.
We have implemented several motion planning algorithms to guide the PSMs and MTMs around obstacles. In one demonstration we have made the robot plan motion around phantom livers and hearts bot in simulation and on real hardware. The control of the PSMs has been simplified from the traditional actuation through MTMs to a much easier and more convenient graphical user interface in ROS. A user can just drag and play around with the simulated MTM/PSM in RViz to make the actual PSM/MTM follow through. Additionally, we are implementing haptic feedback on the MTMs from the wrenches encountered at the PSMs. As part of this work we have been modeling the arm dynamics in Gazebo.
This work is a collaborative project with Johns Hopkins University, Intuitive Surgical, and various other research sites now hosting the dVRK. Please see more about the community here:
Much of the software developed by the team is available open source, and may be found on GitHub: